EU Legislation Too Weak to Cope with Google

Written by | Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The European Commission announced yesterday, after it had detailed two potential antitrust investigations into the giant IT company, that Google could not be divided into smaller firms unless new and better EU legislation is in place. EU Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, responded to the comments by German Economy Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, from earlier this week. Mr Sigmar said that Google’s market position in the market may be so powerful that a break-up of the firm should be “seriously considered”. Commissioner Almunia added that the current European competition law was not strong enough to prompt the split-up of Google.
The American California-based IT giant might, however, still face a separate investigation in addition to one that has been already going on since November 2012. Moreover, the group of 400 European digital market members – “Open Internet Project” – raised another complaint at the end of last week. The complaint asks the EU authorities to assess and tackle new anti-competitive conducts by Google, arguing that the EU’s latest measures against the company were irrelevant and insufficient.
The “Open Internet Project” says that Google’s competitive advantage is, under current conditions, insurmountable as the firm’s market share has been more than 90 percent over years. Moreover, the initiative claims that the company uses its data in an illegal way as it comingles and cross-utilizes the data it collects. Moreover, the company does actively discriminate against competitors by promoting its own services and demoting competitors by unannounced and unjustifiable algorithmic changes that affect competing websites and not their own web page.
Deutsche Telekom has also “complained” to the Commission, though it is still being investigated whether their letter was an “official complaint” or not. Moreover, there have been about 19 additional original complains against Google, asking for the Google’s search engine being separated from the rest of its services. As Mr Almunia explained, “the idea of considering a search engine an essential facility that needs to be unbundled or split from other kinds of services that can be transmitted through this essential facility would require fresh legislation as this cannot be solved by an antitrust approach alone.”

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